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A Southern California woman accused of tossing a bag containing seven newborn puppies by a dumpster allegedly had 38 dogs in her home.
Surveillance footage from an auto parts store in Coachella, California shows a woman, allegedly 54-year-old Deborah Culwell, pull up to a set of dumpsters and toss away a plastic bag later found to contain seven 3-day-old terrier mixes, Riverside County Animal Services said in a press release.
Culwell was arrested on Monday at her Coachella home, where animal services say they made another disturbing discovery.
“Inside the single-family house were 38 dogs,” the agency said in another press release. “The dogs were in what appeared to be fair condition, although some had some skin issues and exhibited aggressive or fearful temperaments.”
Culwell was charged Tuesday with seven felony counts of injuring the puppies and seven misdemeanor counts of abandoning them, the Associated Press reports. She could face up to seven years behind bars if convicted.
It's unclear if Culwell has an attorney.
All 38 dogs from the home are now in the care of the Coachella Valley Animal Campus in Thousand Palms.
“As for the seven dumped pups, a woman in San Bernardino County remains diligent in caring for the abandoned animals,” animal services wrote late Tuesday. “She reported today that the pups are still alive and she is maintaining a rigid nutrition schedule.”
It is believed that one of the 38 dogs is the mother of the dumped pups, although it’s not clear which one. Riverside County Animal Services hopes to get the animals into new, loving homes.
“We’re hopeful Ms. Culwell will relinquish ownership so we can begin the process of re-homing these poor dogs,” Comm. Chris Mayer said in the most recent press release. “We think that would be the best outcome for these pets. We are also hopeful we will have as much interest in these dogs as we have had for the seven dumped pups.”
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